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science centerscience center

As part of the Science Center School in Los Angeles by Morphosis Architects, the parade ground of the adjacent 1912 State Armory building was redesigned with an open-to-sky atrium. Now called the Big Lab, this courtyard houses hands-on science learning activities for school children, teachers’ workshops and pubic events.  The courtyard includes a bamboo grove, water features, heavy mass walls and overhead trusses. Since the courtyard is neither an outdoor space nor an indoor space, exterior climatic conditions can be both mediated and exaggerated. Loisos + Ubbelohde developed predictive methods including advance shade simulation, micro-climate and comfort analysis to assess the impact from the geometry of the courtyard, the orientation and size of the roof opening, the introduction of a bamboo grove and water features, and the presence of heavy mass walls, both shaded and receiving solar radiation.  These findings assisted the exhibit designer, Gyroscope Inc., to design and locate experimental facilities and helped the California Science Center predict how to use the Big Lab as conditions change both diurnally and seasonally.

“Comfort in the Science Garden” from PLEA 2006 Clever Design, Affordable Comfort, Proceedings of the 23rd Conference on Passive and Low Energy Alternatives, Geneva, Switzerland, September 2006, pp. ii-523–528.
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ARCHITECT
Morphosis Architects
Exhibit Design Gyroscope Inc.

LOCATION
Los Angeles, CA

CURRENT STATUS
Occupied, 2004

AWARDS
2005 AIA California Council Merit Award
2005 Los Angeles Business Council - Preservation Award
2004 Progressive Architecture Award
2003 National AIA Honor Award



Above: Sun and shade studies in plan view.